Tuesday, December 05, 2006

US Patent 7143785 - Microfluid-tronics


The analogy between fluid flow and electrical current flow has been recognized for over a century and many of the mathematical equations describing electron transport appear in analogous forms when describing fluid transport. This patent from CalTech exploits this similarity and proposes an integrated circuit approach to microfluidics to construct devices performing comparator functions and memory functions common to electronics devices but with biological fluids rather than electrons as the transport media. Claim 1 reads:

1. A microfluidic device comprising: a microfluidic flow channel formed in a first layer; a first microfluidic control channel formed in a second layer adjacent to the first layer, the first microfluidic control channel separated from the microfluidic flow channel by a first deflectable membrane integral with the first layer or the second layer; and a second microfluidic control channel adjacent to the first microfluidic control channel and separated from the first microfluidic control channel by a second deflectable membrane.